U2 versus the evil internet pirates, part 1

Apparently U2 have lost a rough cut of their forthcoming album at a photo shoot. It’s not the first time this has happened: Pop leaked on the Web a few months before its release, rough recordings for Achtung Baby were nicked from the studio a few years before that, and something in the back of my mind tells me they lost demos or rough cuts in the early 80s too.

Inevitably, everyone’s worried that it’ll end up on the Web like the last few Radiohead albums, whose web leaks generated, er, months of publicity and, er, rocketed the albums to the top of the charts on the day of release. But of course, records don’t get leaked to the Web deliberately and only a cynic would suggest otherwise.

A tale of two CDs

With music, I often need instant gratification: I’ll hear a song on the radio or on a music channel and I’ve got to have it. Here’s two examples of that in action – the first shows how it should work, and the second shows why downloading isn’t going away.

Snow Patrol – Chocolate
Heard it on MTV2, liked it, went online to the Apple music store and bought the song. Bought the album (on CD) the next day.

Unnamed pop song [details withheld for legal reasons]
Heard it on The Box and on Radio 1, went to the Apple music store. Not there. Went to Napster. Not there. MyCokeMusic. Not there. Discovered that despite it being on heavy rotation on radio and TV, it doesn’t come out for another six weeks. Went on Gnutella. Downloaded it. Will no doubt be utterly sick of it by the time it goes on sale, so there’s very little chance that I’ll buy the record.